Pierre Bélanger is Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and Co-Director of the MDes Postgraduate Design Research Program at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Cross-appointed with the Department of Landscape Architecture and the Advanced Studies Program, Bélanger teaches and coordinates graduate courses on the convergence of ecology, infrastructure, media and urbanism in the interrelated fields of design, communications, planning and engineering.
In response to the inertia of urban planning and the overexertion of civil engineering in public works today, Bélanger’s contribution to the field of “landscape infrastructure” has been shared and developed in collaboration with governments, professionals and academics worldwide. Vis-à-vis the complexities, scales, and indeterminacies of urban change, Bélanger’s core commitment lies in the agency of landscape architecture to redefine the morphology of urban infrastructure through research, pedagogy and practice.
Bélanger is the first landscape architect to be selected for the Pamphlet Architecture Series (founded in 1977) whose 35th edition, titled Going Live: from States to Systems, is published by Princeton Architectural Press. In collaboration with Jennifer Sigler, Bélanger recently guest edited a special issue of Harvard Design Magazine (#39) on the urbanization of the ocean (“Wet Matter”) featuring an international array of contributors such as Ulrich Beck, Joshua Comaroff, Victor Hernández Cruz, Dilip da Cunha, Keller Easterling, Kate Orff, Anuradha Mathur, Abdoumaliq Simone, Supersudaca, and Dawn Wright among others. Currently completing two core manuscripts on infrastructure and urbanism, Landscape Infrastructure and Landscape of Defense, his work has been recognized by professional associations and scholars worldwide with publications in Landscape Architecture Magazine, Journal of Landscape Architecture, Ecological Urbanism, New Geographies, Landscape Journal, Topos, The Landscape Urbanism Reader, Geoinformatics, Journal of Tunneling and Underground Space Technology, Trash, Food, and Canadian Architect. Bélanger’s most recent publications include The Alvsjo Flatbed, Ecology 5.0 (2014), Landscape Infrastructure: Urbanism Beyond Engineering (2012), The Agronomic Landscape (2011), Regionalization (2010), Redefining Infrastructure (2010), Power Perestroika (2010), Landscape as Infrastructure (2009), Landscapes of Disassembly (2007), Synthetic Surfaces (2007), Foodshed: The Cosmopolitan Infrastructure of the Ontario Food Terminal (2007) and Airspace: The Economy and Ecology of Landfilling in Michigan (2006). Bélanger has received several international prizes in design and planning competitions and he is only the Landscape Architect to have received the Professional Prix de Rome in Architecture awarded by the Canada Council for the Arts.
As former project manager for Brinkman & Associates—North America’s largest reforestation and bioengineering contractor, Bélanger completed doctoral studies on infrastructural environments at the University of Wageningen (WUR, The Netherlands) with PhD cum laude, the first graduate from the School of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning at Wageningen to ever receive this distinction in its history. Prior to this, Bélanger completed graduate studies for the Master in Landscape Architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design where he received the Janet Darling Webel and Norman T. Newton Prizes in design. Originally trained at the University of Toronto, Bélanger is professionally registered as a Landscape Architect and Urban Planner in Canada, the United States, and the Netherlands.
Combining knowledge from different fields and media, Bélanger collaborates with government agencies, resource industries, civil authorities, professional organizations, universities, corporations and a team of interdisciplinary practitioners in the design and development of territorial strategies. Through the inception of OPSYS (a federally incorporated, non-profit, design-research organization in the US and in Canada) and of the Landscape Infrastructure Lab, Bélanger initiates and coordinates a portfolio of projects funded by public/private partnerships that include New York State, Charles River Conservancy, the Government of Haiti Civil Protection Service, The World Bank Group, the U.S. Department of Defense, Transport Canada, Foreign Affairs & International Trade Canada, the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council, the Toronto Region Conservation Authority, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, Waste Management Inc., the City of Toronto, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.